Resettlement Project Cambodia Jul 2011 Issue
Jul 1, 2011 | 0 comments
On our humanitarian trip to Phum Trea, Cambodia on 10 December 2010, we learned about the plight of the fishermen along the Tonle Sap Lake. Three Hope Directors, Ann, Arfat and Noor revisited Cambodia on 14 June 2011 for a fact finding trip. They were joined by Ms Saleemah, a Singaporean currently based in Phnom Penh on a UN Women project.
For generations, Tonle Sap Lake has supported the livelihood of fishermen who live in dilapidated structures floating on?the shore. These fishermen can no longer sustain a living owing to the depletion of fish supply due to over overfishing and pollution.
60 years old Imam Karim Aly, a Muslim Cambodian from Pursat Province who owns 100 hectares of agricultural land in Pursat Province wants to help these fishermen resettle. He wants to donate 2,500 sq m (25 x 100 m) of his new land to each family. Hope Directors discussed with him and consulted Cambodian lawyers on the land ownership.
They then took a 4-hour ride from Phnom Penh to the new land in Anlong Klong Village, Krokor District, Pursat, 150 km north of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The land, a virgin secondary jungle is 10 km off the Highway 5, the main highway to Thailand and close to the border of Kampong Chhnang Province.
We were welcomed by the 40 villagers, Imam Karim, the village chief and the Commune officer. Imam Karim has extended his land to 80 families since early 2011. We met and talked to two families, Mdm Mary Binti Ali, a widower with four daughters from Chang Kah Village in Kampong Chhnang floating village and Suria, homeless divorcee from Phnon Penh with years old twin daughter and son, her brother and father. Both Mdm Mary and Suria were very grateful to Imam Karim for giving them a second chance to live.
As these families have no financial means or aids, they could only construct skeleton structure from tree trunk cleared from the land for their ‘home’. These are by no means decent living conditions. With limited farming tool and technique, they cultivate their land for vegetables and fruit tree. The soil looks good as we saw growth of tomatoes and cucumbers on the ground. Water for drinking, cooking and crops is from a shallow pit. Although the water source is a good start to their livelihood it is certainly not a solution for living and farming.
We had lunch on a make shift platform under a lovely cherry tree. We discussed with Imam Karim and officials about the resettlement project. Imam Karim agrees to further extend his land to another? 20 families and an additional plot for a mosque, primary school, health centre and recreation. He intends to sell the remaining land to make his dream pilgrimage to Mecca come true.
We expressed, on behalf of Hope Villages, our intention to support the re-settlement of these 100 families and the community development. We agreed to provide two pump wells as a start and to further aid in providing better homes for the families, a clinic, a school, pump wells, water purification and farming.